Reduce the Risk of Surgical Site Infections

What you can do:

  • Ask your primary care provider if there are any immunizations that might prevent commonly spread community diseases that you should have before your surgery.
  • Follow your physician’s pre-operative bathing/ shower instructions completely regarding the use of antiseptic skin cleansers and take special care to thoroughly clean the intended surgical site as well.
  • Make sure your caregivers wash/clean their hands before and after caring for you.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • While in the hospital, ask sick family and friends not to visit.
  • Clean/wash your hands regularly. Be careful not to touch your incision after your surgery with unclean hands. Do not touch your face, nose or mouth area and then touch your incision.

What we can do:

  • Use clippers instead of razors to remove hair before surgery
  • Administer a prophylactic, or preventive, antibiotic 1 - 2 hours before the surgery, in appropriate patients and dependent upon the type of surgery performed.
  • Stop preventive antibiotics 24 hours following the surgery or 48 hours following heart surgery.
  • Ensure that heart surgery patients have normal blood sugar levels following surgery.
  • Ensure that all surgery patients have a normal body temperature immediately following surgery.

Reduce the Risk of Surgical Mistakes

What you can do:

  • Ask questions. It is okay to ask questions and to expect answers that you understand. Speak up if you have concerns.
  • Think of yourself as our partner in care, be an active participant in regards to your safety and the quality of your health care. Studies show that patients who are actively involved in making their health care decisions are more likely to have positive outcomes.
  • You and your doctor should agree on exactly what will be done during your surgery.
  • Insist that your surgery be done at a Joint Commission-accredited facility. Joint Commission accreditation is considered the “gold standard,” meaning that the hospital or surgery center has undergone a rigorous on-site evaluation and is committed to national quality and safety standards.
  • Ask to have the surgical site marked with a permanent marker and be involved in marking the site to ensure the site cannot be easily overlooked or confused, i.e. surgery performed on the right knee instead of the left knee.

What we can do

  • Your caregivers will ask the same questions several times prior to your surgery:
    • Your full name? Date of birth? Last 4 digits of your social security number?
    • What part of your body is surgery going to be performed on?
    • Which side of your body is surgery going to be performed on?
    • What is the procedure that you and your doctor have agreed to have performed?
  • Before sedation, you and your doctor will agree upon the specific body part and side requiring surgery. You will also sign a consent form specifically authorizing the agreed upon procedure.
    The specific surgical site will be initialed by your doctor with a permanent marker and this process usually includes the participation and confirmation of the patient.
  • A checklist of items crucial to a successful operation will be completed to ensure the surgical team is completely prepared to perform your surgery. In the operating room a final “Time-Out” will take place immediately before the surgery begins. During this time your identity, consent for surgery, surgery site marking and other specific information is reviewed by your surgical team to ensure everyone is in complete agreement on the procedure type and location about to be performed.